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Children’s Oral Health: Developing Positive Habits

Man Brushing Child's Teeth

Why Children’s Oral Health Is So Important

We all want the best for our children in all aspects of life. And that applies to their teeth as well! One of the best gifts you can provide for your little loved ones is to teach them proper dental hygiene—right from the very beginning. Developing children’s oral health habits early in life will make them more likely to carry it on through adolescence and into adulthood.

As a young baby, before the first teeth begin to emerge, you can clean your baby’s gums after each feeding. Simply use a clean cloth to clear any milk or baby food residue.

When their first teeth emerge, it’s time to start brushing them! Using just water, secure their head against your chest. Make small circles, brushing their teeth while angling the bristles away from the guns. Use a toothpaste Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit six months after their first tooth appears. (This is typically around the age of 1, as children’s baby teeth erupt at around six months.)

At around 18 months, begin using a pea-sized portion of low-fluoride toothpaste, and try to encourage your child to spit out as much as possible.

When your child is a little older, it’s time to start teaching them how to brush on their own. An excellent benchmark to remember is that your child is ready to clean their own teeth when they can write their name. (That’s because using a pencil requires similar manual dexterity.) Once they’re at this stage, demonstrate the proper technique for them. Be sure to encourage them with positive reinforcement. Tell them what a good job they’re doing, and remind them of how they’re helping to keep their teeth healthy. Then, you can finish the brushing to ensure that they haven’t missed a spot.

By following the above advice, you’ll be well on your way to protecting your children’s oral health!

About Dr. William J. Black

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the UCLA School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Black has 8 children, works actively with the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys gardening.

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